2 Chronicles 28:23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.”

Many a person has fallen for the ‘get rich quick’ scheme, promoting that you’ll double your money, become a millionaire, or be rich beyond your imagination. For some, we buy lottery tickets.

Then, there are those we follow after who have taken the time to study, work, try, and fail, and finally find a niche that they work till it becomes a success. Many will examine their decision-making pattern, their business model, or their mannerisms thinking if we can be just like them, we will have the same success.

There are those of us who have talents in art, literature, speaking, or have been gifted to make music, sing or play an instrument. Some have athletic prowess and excel in their peers quickly.

Our society is so far out of balance that we pay millions of dollars to one who can hit a ball, run fast, or throw a ball a country mile, and those that teach the next generation are left to languish with meager wages.

We worship our sports heroes. We idolize actors and actresses because they portray something or someone we are not. We sit at their feet and listen to them as if they possess some great wisdom. We even dress like them. 

We send our children to college for them to gain an education and come back spewing such hatred for their parents and institutions that gave them their foundation. They hate what their parents stand for and believe they and those like them can conquer the world. 

Technology has brought the world front and center to the hearts and minds of the child of God that it has become a battle we are fast losing. 

King Ahaz was only twenty years old when he began to reign over Judah. In his youth, he chose to follow after the world instead of the sound wisdom of the elders around him. He saw countries worship idols, fight, and win battles that gained them great spoil. He desired to be more like them instead of following the prophets and his forefathers. 

History has its innovators, its inventors, those who have dared to be different and made a name for themselves. But often forget to take heed to the wisdom of the Word of God.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

Solomon was a keen observer. He watched those that rose to power and followed what they did, what they said, how they acted and the decisions they made. They may have started well, but it is how they ended that he took the knowledge and learned much. 

As with Solomon, and in our text this morning, the statement that caught my attention was this:

“…But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.”

Many of us can sustain our failures. But, when the lives of those who love us, those who follow us are now under the same consequence of our decisions, we must take the more earnest heed. 

When the child of God looks to the world, to follow their example, we run the risk of not only personal failure but affecting the lives of many around us. Some of those we idolize built their empire on the ruin of others, leaving a trail of ruined lives in their wake.

Often, we don’t realize this until it is too late and the damage is done.

If I could learn one thing from Ahaz today, it would be this:

Do not let my pride stand in the way of making a sound decision. 

When my reputation is on the line, I might force a decision that needs time, energy, and much counsel. I need to gain the right perspective. I cannot trust myself nor those who don’t espouse the same principles as God would have my trust. 

Throughout my life, my parents went from being worshipped to lacking any sense to becoming the wisest folks I’ve had the pleasure to know. What changed?

My perspective changed, and how I saw them. My parents didn’t change all that much I did. 

The same is true in my relationship with God. At times, I rise up thinking I know what’s best for me instead of considering the counsel of those who have already been down that path. I forsake the very God who has already seen the end of the matter and knows the way I should take.

Today is one of those days when the thoughts and meditations do not come to a full conclusion. But, I can take with me the thought that trusting God for the outcome will preserve those who follow me.

May that be our prayer!

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